Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It’s part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold.
Right now, medical experts think that COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze or kiss. However, since COVID-19 is a new disease, scientists around the globe are racing to learn more about it.
Prevention and Treatment
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. Check the CDC website for up-to-date information. If traveling, visit the CDC travel page for most current travel guidelines.
Good health habits can also help prevent and fight COVID-19.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick. This includes staying home from work, school, errands, and travel for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.
- Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like phones, keyboards, and doorknobs.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink lots of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Individuals exposed to COVID-19 who develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, should contact their doctor immediately. Anthem members can log in at anthem.com/ca to use LiveHealth Online and connect with a board-certified doctor via video at no cost through June 14, 2020, or chat with a doctor via text through the Sydney Care app. To help prevent the disease from spreading to people in the community, follow these CDC recommendations.
No. In recent days there have been several media reports concerning new and existing antiviral drugs that are being tested for their use in treating COVID-19. None of these drugs have been approved for use with COVID-19 and many are still being investigated. We are monitoring developments in this area closely and will evaluate coverage of any treatments once approved.
How Anthem Benefits Will Work
Members can download the free Sydney Care mobile app for a quick and easy way to evaluate symptoms. They can connect with a doctor through a LiveHealth Online video session or a Virtual Care text session right from their phone. The doctor they connect with can evaluate their symptoms, help them understand whether they’re at risk for COVID-19, and let them know whether they need to visit a local health care provider in person for COVID-19 testing. LiveHealth Online is available for members at no extra cost through June 14, 2020.
Sydney Care is available to download now on Android or iOS. This app should accompany the Sydney Health and Engage app. Coronavirus Assessment functionality is in development and expected to be available within the next week.
Members can also log in to their anthem.com/ca account and connect to LiveHealth Online.
Most plans include telehealth as part of their benefits. If LiveHealth Online isn’t part of a member’s plan benefits, they can still use it for $59 per visit.
If doctors in a members’ plan don’t use LiveHealth Online, but have their own telemedicine technology to see patients, members can use that technology to see them at no cost until June 14, 2020.
Anthem is relaxing early prescription refill limits, where permitted, for members who have Anthem pharmacy benefits and wish to refill a 30-day supply of most maintenance medications early.
Additionally, members who have a pharmacy plan that includes a 90-day mail-order benefit should talk to their doctor about whether changing from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply of their prescriptions is appropriate. Members filling 90-day prescriptions can get most of their medications through our home delivery pharmacy. Members can call the Pharmacy Member Services number on their health plan ID card to learn more.
If there’s an epidemic, how will you ensure that the doctors in the Anthem plan can still provide care?
Anthem is committed to making sure members can get the care they need. We’re working closely with the doctors and other health care professionals in our plans to prepare for more calls and visits. If doctors aren’t available for some reason, we’ll help them find alternate care. Members can go to anthem.com/ca or call the Member Services number on their ID card.
We are carefully monitoring the global drug supply for any disruptions related to COVID-19 and, at the present time we have not identified any disruptions that would affect members’ abilities to fill their prescriptions through either our mail order facility or our retail networks. In the event that we identify a shortage with a particular drug, we will take steps to allow members to access an appropriate therapeutic alternative.
Safety and Preparedness
Anthem is monitoring COVID-19 developments and what they mean for our associates and those we serve. We are fielding questions about the outbreak from our customers, members, providers, and associates. Additionally, our clinical team is actively monitoring external queries and reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help us determine what, if any, action is necessary on our part to further support our stakeholders. Anthem has a business continuity plan for serious communicable disease outbreaks, inclusive of pandemics, and will be ready to deploy the plan if necessary.
Anthem maintains a comprehensive enterprise wide business continuity program that aligns business requirements of our operating units and related support areas to help us meet our commitments following an “unplanned event.” This plan includes strategies for a “People Unavailable” event, including a pandemic, to help us continue critical business processes to meet our customer commitments. Response to and mitigation of such an event can include leveraging our broad geographic footprint, work from home capability, increased personal hygiene and additional building hygiene measures and frequency, travel restrictions, isolation of personnel, and limiting access to and travel between our facilities. All of this is documented in established policies and procedures to support crisis response measures, such as during a pandemic threat.
We are recommending members use telehealth when they can, as it prevents them from spreading a virus and can help protect them from getting a virus while waiting with others at a physical facility. Members can use LiveHealth Online at no cost until June 14, 2020. They can visit anthem.com/ca secure portal to use LiveHealth Online and connect with a board-certified doctor via live chat or video. This includes visits with a mental health professional.
For more information, check the CDC website for up-to-date details and recommendations about COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Interim Guidance for Implementing Home Care of People Not Requiring Hospitalization for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (COVID-19) (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-home-care.html.